Kerry is in her late twenties and has been out of work for three years. We met her at the local work club. She tells us she has paced her flat for the last two hours trying to build up courage to come and get help.
Kerry was attacked around five years previously which left her with a fractured skull. At the time she worked as a chef and loved her job. When she returned to work she noticed that she started to struggle with the noisy kitchen environment. It became more and more difficult for her and she missed some hours. Ultimately this led to Kerry losing her job. She managed to get employment somewhere else but had to give up work eventually and claim ESA. She was diagnosed with an mental health illness, which if not caused was certainly brought on by her previous attack.
Through her time on ESA her mental wellbeing suffered dramatically. As her anxiety grew she found it more and more difficult to interact. Kerry has not got any family support and feels friends normally rely on her to support them. She recognises that some of this is because she finds it difficult to be open about how she really feels.
Kerry recently finished a relationship, which became very unhealthy. Even though this was a positive step it left her feeling more isolated and depressed. She started to realise that staying in her flat was making her situation worse and decided to do something about it by attending the work club.
This is a massive first step. Even though Kerry wants to work she is very much aware this is just the beginning. Being honest about where she is at, the SMBC run work club was able to support and signpost Kerry to ‘The Growth Company’ for an initial introduction back into work This will enable her to gain some confidence back and get the support she needs to integrate back into working life.
This story was written up as part of the Stockport Community Insight programme.